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The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy 

TV-PG | | Adventure, Comedy, Sci-Fi | TV Series (1981)
Arthur Dent and his friend Ford Prefect escape the destruction of Earth only to face incredible trials, tribulations and adventures in space and time.
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2,874 ( 28)

Episodes

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1  
1981  
5 wins. See more awards »

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A documentary looking at the making of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1981), including interviews with leading members of the cast and production team, behind-the-scenes footage and ... See full summary »

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Based on Douglas Adams' series of novels following the intergalactic adventures of Arthur Dent, a hapless Englishman, following the destruction of Earth by the Vogons, a race of unpleasant and bureaucratic aliens.

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Cast

Complete series cast summary:
Peter Jones ...  The Book 6 episodes, 1981
Simon Jones ...  Arthur Dent 6 episodes, 1981
David Dixon David Dixon ...  Ford Prefect 6 episodes, 1981
Sandra Dickinson ...  Trillian 5 episodes, 1981
Mark Wing-Davey ...  Zaphod Beeblebrox 5 episodes, 1981
Stephen Moore ...  Marvin / ... 5 episodes, 1981
David Learner David Learner ...  Marvin 4 episodes, 1981
David Tate David Tate ...  Eddie / ... 3 episodes, 1981
Martin Benson ...  Vogon Captain 2 episodes, 1981
Richard Vernon ...  Slartibartfast 2 episodes, 1981
Rayner Bourton ...  Newscaster 2 episodes, 1981
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Storyline

Arthur Dent is your average middle-class Briton. One day, while trying to prevent his house being destroyed to build a highway, his friend Ford Prefect whisks him away to the pub and explains that the Earth is about to be destroyed and they need to escape. Intergalactic, inter-time adventures ensue. Written by grantss

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Don't panic!


Certificate:

TV-PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

30 October 1982 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(6 episodes) | (2 parts) | (7 episodes) (original) | (6 episodes) (subsequent syndication) | (6 episodes)

Sound Mix:

Mono | Stereo (video release)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Zaphod's second, remote controlled mechanical head constantly malfunctioned on the set, resulting in it lolling to the side or staring blankly into the distance. In addition, if Mark Wing-Davey became overly active whilst wearing the costume (something that was very prone to happening, due to the show's plot and Zaphod's inherent character), the motion would often strip the gears inside the head. Wing-Davey later said in interviews that the cost of building and maintaining the head probably exceeded his salary for the program. See more »

Goofs

The person operating Zaphod's third arm can be seen on multiple occasions. See more »

Quotes

Slartibartfast: I'd much rather be happy than right, any day.
Arthur Dent: And are you?
Slartibartfast: No. That's where it all breaks down, of course.
See more »

Crazy Credits

After the credits for episode 3, the voice of the book returns briefly to resolve which one of the characters sustained a bruised arm -- a question that had been raised earlier in the episode, but left unanswered because it was unimportant. See more »

Alternate Versions

For the original run in the United States, the six-part series was edited into seven parts (since the original episodes all ran over thirty minutes and could not fit into the rigid 30-minute time slot). An interesting sidenote to this is that when the six 35-minute episodes were made into seven 30-minute episodes, the plot recap intended for the beginning of each episode appeared five minutes later in the program with each subsequent installment (and did not appear at all in the final episode!) After this version was televised on PBS stations a few times, the program disappeared from American airwaves for a while. Then the original version, with its six slightly overlong episodes, showed up, and that's all that's been seen on public TV since. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Finding Nemo (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Journey of the Sorcerer
(title music)
Written by Bernie Leadon
Arranged by Tim Souster
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Well executed, bears up well to repeat viewing
4 July 2006 | by CanvoodooSee all my reviews

Unlike the recent Movie, this mini-series is mostly good, and does an excellent job of capturing the quirky spirit of the radio original.

Probably the biggest reason why this adaptation works well is that the marvelous dialogue of the radio version has not been messed up. There are changes (as there have been in every medium the guide has been adapted into), but unlike the film version, the best and most memorable parts haven't been tampered with – See the memorable quotes section for examples of this. The biggest difference between this version and the film may be that Douglas Adams was directly involved with the production of the Television version, but sadly was not around to oversee the film version, for which the loss is evident.

The special effects aren't great (think Doctor Who, circa 1980), but the performances are enough fun that it doesn't matter all that much. Many of the cast members are the originals from the radio series, and even those that aren't originals mostly do a good job with their characters. The one exception is Sandra Dickinson, who just isn't convincing as Trillian – She's supposed to a very bright astrophysicist, but comes across as a bimbo/airhead. Still, the rest of the casting is excellent, so this one lapse can be forgiven.

The best part of the whole series is the visuals for the actual Guide. These are extraordinarily detailed animations, buttressing Peter Jones' voice-over from the radio original with lots of extra visual jokes and humor. One of the best parts about being able to watch this on DVD is the ability to freeze-frame some of the more interesting bits to be able to better appreciate all of the funny stuff contained within. These visuals were actually accomplished using a painstaking manual animation technique to simulate the computer displays, as 1980-era computers just weren't up to the job of doing things like this. Ironically, the simulated computer animations are a lot funnier than the actual computer animations (with 25 years worth of improved technology) in the film version.

In sum, given the choice between this and the film version, I would take this any time. The DVD version also includes lots of extra material – production notes, making-of documentaries, and a tribute to the late Douglas Adams.


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